CONCUSSION: My Experience

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CONCUSSION: My Experience

Caitlin Daley, Contributor

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A concussion is a blow or jolt to the head, causing the brain to move around in your head. This can result in bruising, damage to blood vessels, and injury to the nerves, which can negatively affect the brain..


The symptoms of a concussion are internal, meaning no one can see them. I’m not going to carp about the lights being too bright or music being too loud. However, I will complain about the sound of a knife when it hits the cutting board or the sharp sound of silverware when you put it away.


It’s a never ending problem, which has taken up the past five years of my high school career. It’s the new normal for me, something I have to face every day. It’s turned my daily endeavour into my new reality.


I get tired quickly. I can’t remember simple things. I have trouble putting my thoughts into words. I get headaches when I read. I get quiet. Tears come to my eyes for no reason. I wake up in the middle of the night and my room is spinning. I have limits now that I never thought I would have. People make fun of me when I can’t think of something they had just said or when I don’t want to hangout. I’m being controlled by something that has taken over me.


Let’s put it this way, once you get your first brain injury, you are more susceptible to getting another one; it never goes away. I can assure you that I am not the same person I was before I got my eight concussions. The recovery process isn’t a set amount of time; it’s not like a broken wrist or leg. Every person is different, and recovery times can differ from weeks to months to years. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way.


I never thought this would happen to me. Sports were what made me, me. They were a way I could express myself. As tough and strong as someone can be, you only get one chance at life and only get one brain. This injury, that they say is invisible, is now clear to me and something I hope no one takes lightly, because it’s more serious than you may think it is.


I can frankly tell you that I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have. It was during my freshman year when I got my third concussion, and I remember our Athletic Trainer saying to me, “Do you want to play sports again, because if you don’t start taking recovery seriously, it’s not going to happen”. It went through one ear and out the other; all I wanted to do was play sports. I didn’t care what anyone had to say.


I can assure you that I have learned my lesson, and because of it I can’t participate in contact sports. Every hit to the head, I take 1000x more seriously, not because I want to but because I have to. You get one brain and one life.


I had to quit two of the activities that helped me get through all my other challenges that I have encountered: soccer and basketball. I apologize when I can’t remember something that I was just told or when I get too moody. But most importantly, I had to apologize to myself, for not taking the time I needed to and for not listening to those who were trying to help me.


People say they are sorry that I can’t do what I love anymore, but I think otherwise. I can thank the concussions for teaching me a big life lesson — to appreciate everything I have and everyone around me. Some people don’t think concussions are a big deal. Just because it’s invisible doesn’t mean it’s not there. You may look fine, but the brain has a funny way of healing itself and takes its time.


I want no one to go through what I’ve had to go through because it has forced me to stop doing what I love. I think all high school and college athletes should know the effects of concussions and how to prevent them, from wearing the right protective headgear to knowing the correct way to head a ball in soccer. Concussions are more serious than some people make them out to be, and they can have long lasting effects. Take it from me because I know.